Post Office Arson Suspect Arrested, Lobby Hours Reduced – May 22, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

City of Arcata




On Sunday, May 20 at approximately 4:15 p.m., officers from the Arcata Police Department responded to a reported fire at the Arcata Post Office, 799 H St.

Officers discovered papers and debris had been set on fire in the lobby area of the Post Office. A passerby noticed the fire and extinguished the flames using a fire extinguisher he retrieved from his vehicle. The Good Samaritan received a burn to one of his hands while attempting to put out the fire.

Winifred Susan Leshane, 36 of San Rafael was booked into the Humboldt County Jail on a charge of arson.

The Arcata Fire Department responded and put out the remaining fire. The structure received minor fire damage to two walls as well as smoke damage. A witness reported seeing a suspicious person in the area shortly after the fire.

On Monday, May 21 at approximately 2 p.m., the Arcata Police Department received a report of a person putting a lit cigarette into the fuel tank of a vehicle parked in the 700 block of 10th Street.

Officers responded but were unable to locate the subject. The description of the subject provided by the witness was similar to the suspicious person seen in the area of the Post Office arson.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., officers located a woman in the 800 block of 17th Street that closely matched the description of the suspicious person provided by the witnesses at the Post Office arson and the attempted vehicle arson.

The woman was interviewed by APD detectives and confessed to setting the Post Office fire and attempting to set the vehicle on fire on 10th Street. She was detained for a mental health evaluation and transported to Sempervirens Mental Health Facility in Eureka.

She was later identified as Winifred Susan Leshane, 36 of San Rafael. Leshane was arrested on an arson charge and lodged in Humboldt County Jail.  

Editor’s note: APD dispatcher logs describe the suspect at 12:17 p.m. in the 1000 block of H Street as follows:

“Suspect is on foot walking north on H Street from this location. Suspect is a white female adult, 20s, thin build, camp pants, black hooded. The reporting party states that the white female adult suspect placed a lit cigarette into a gas tank. Vehicle parked in front of Humbrews. Only description of vehicle is dark gray new truck with surfboards in the back. The white female adult also spit at the entrance to Tin Can Mailman.”

The suspect was spotted in the 1600 block of G Street at 4:31 p.m., detained in the 700 block of 17th Street and taken to Sempervirens, the event concluding at 5:49 p.m.


 USPS Press Release


 ARCATA Effective June 23, 2012 the Arcata Post Office lobby hours will change as follows:

Monday to Friday: 4 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday: 4 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Sunday: Closed

There have been repeated acts of vandalism at the Arcata Post Office. For the safety of its employees and customers it was decided to make the change in lobby hours.



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